Bike Share Pittsburgh is replacing its entire Healthy Ride system this spring with something new, called POGOH. (It’s “PGH” with two bike wheels in between). After many years, the ubiquitous blue-and-white bikes were getting a bit tired, and lessons had been learned.

Lesson one: Pittsburgh has hills. Lots of them. So half of the new POGOH bike fleet will be e-assist bikes.

“As soon as you go up a hill, it will give you a boost,” says Erin Potts of Healthy Ride Pittsburgh.

“I can’t wait to see riders POGOH-ing all over town,” says Tim Madle, creative director for Pittsburgh-based design studio Landesberg Design, who helped create the new name and look.

The non-electric bikes will have three gears and feature lighter frames, adjustable seats, front and wheel lights, fenders and roller brakes.

The bikes are made by PSBC Urban Solutions of Montreal. The e-assist electric bikes can be returned to any station, and have advanced charging ability that allows them to be charged automatically at the station.

POGOH bikes will be unveiled around the city. Photo by Mike Machosky.

“I believe that our favorite memories of being in cities are the moments when instead of feeling the anxiety of rushing traffic around us, we feel the joy of the people around us,” says David White, executive director of nonprofit Bike Share Pittsburgh. “We have the opportunity to tackle some of these challenges, tackle the challenges of high gas prices, health disparities in our communities, congestion in our streets, pollution in our air.

“We can solve this … We have the opportunity to remake our entire city.”

Healthy Ride, which began in 2015, has about 100,000 registered users, according to Potts. The new system will start with 38 rental/charging stations next month and 340 bikes. Later this summer or early fall, 27 more stations will be added. The bikes are unlocked with smartphones using a QR code. A new website and app will be launching soon.

An annual membership will include unlimited 30-minute rides for $120 a year. A five-hour flex pass is $30. Pay-as-you-go pricing is $3.50 for 30 minutes for pedal bikes, and $5 for 30 minutes for e-assist bikes.

“Last year, we announced an unlimited number of trips for the entire University of Pittsburgh campus — all students, grad students, faculty and staff, can all get access to our system for free,” says White. “We’re one of the only cities — maybe the only city — that has a partnership like that.”

Making the system more accessible was a priority for POGOH so it will begin a Mobility Justice Membership, which will offer an annual membership to anyone receiving government assistance (SNAP, Medicare, Medicaid) for $10.

Highmark and Allegheny Health Network remain the primary sponsors with the Hillman Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and the Richard King Mellon Foundation also providing support.

Michael Machosky

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife,...